One of the highlights of our programming in the YWCA Crisis Shelter & Residence is a visit from Jack, the therapy dog.
Jack’s brings along Leanne Sillers, youth program co-ordinator at Family Service Saskatoon. He has successfully completed his training as a “certified therapy dog,” and is now working out in the community. Leanne works as a therapist and brings Jack to most therapy group settings. Having him as part of the group always makes tough topics easier to discuss for the children in the groups.
Jack is sure to make the rounds to each of our clients during his visits at the YWCA. He loves to give kisses, and receive hugs from the women in the Turning Points supportive living facility. He also visits the girls in the Margaret’s Place youth facility. During each visit, we sit with him, talk, pet him, and he makes his rounds. Jack’s mere presence brings comfort. A visit is planned soon for the crisis floor women and families.
Jack visited women in Turning Points during the holidays wearing his tuxedo tie for the occasion. Our clients were excited to plan for his impending visit and baked him some home-made doggie treats–Jack reciprocated by carrying around a basket to deliver candy canes for all the ladies.
One of our clients expressed his importance beautifully: “Jack has such a happy spirit and gives unconditional love.”
Research shows that therapy dogs reduce stress and anxiety and improve mood. This is so true when Jack makes an appearance at the YWCA. Everyone’s mood is instantly lifted.